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It is my firm belief that unless you’re traveling through an airport or to a major sporting event, there should be a pocket knife on your person at all times. They’re just too damn handy to walk around without one. And almost since Toolmonger’s inception, the knife of choice for both me and Chuck has been the three-inch Winchester lockback.

Pakka wood and a little nickel is about all the fancy these blades offer. However, the $10 price tag means you could by a fleet of the things for the cost of one “good” knife. We’ve beat the living tar out of ours and have yet to kill them, so as far as we can tell, backups aren’t really required.

You can find them at most sporting goods and Walmart stores; for a while you could find Pakka wood flanks at Lowe’s as well, though I haven’t seen them there in quite some time. But should you happen across one, go ahead and make the investment — it’s worth it.

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14 Responses to TM’s Favs ’10: Winchester 3″ Lockback

  1. Robbie_B says:

    can they be sharpened? I bought some cheap folders at lowes one time, only to find they couldn’t be sharpened and keep an edge. The steel was too cheap.

  2. Ben says:

    buck vantage pro,
    s30v steel blade and g10 handles, stays ridiculously sharp very well. for 50 bucks, its an amazing deal considering blades with s30v steal (pretty much the best steal you can get in a knife) start at like 150

  3. ToolGuyd says:

    I’ve had many frustrations with cheap knives to bother with them anymore. I probably would have had an easier time grinding down and sharpening bar stock than those dull abominations.

    What about the steel? All the product info pages I could find for this knife describe how “beautiful” and “graceful” the pakka wood handles are. I can’t even find Winchester’s webpage – all I found was a “licensing opportunities” page at Winchester Ammo. That type of marketing is why I usually stay away from knives like this.

  4. Sean OHara says:

    @Robbie_B Yes they can be. Ours have had about 5 trips each to our Toolmonger sharpener.

  5. Mike says:

    I carry around a Cold Steel folder and a Leatherman Skeletool. I feel like my Cold Steel knives have a pretty good cost to quality ratio. I buy them on eBay, and stay around $40 – 50 for a knife. Right now I’ve been using the Rajah III regularly. It has a fairly thin edge that needs a touch up about once a week to keep it super sharp. I like the more modern look of all black handles.

    I always feel naked when traveling and I have to leave my knife at home.

  6. paanta says:

    Pass. I will never again own a knife without a pocket clip and one-handed opening of some sort, with a possible exception being made for old timey carbon steel blades like the opinel or douk-douk. When something needs cutting, 90% of the time one of my hands is full.

  7. craig says:

    there are several “branded” knives that appear to come from the same factory in china.

    the winchester knives are the better choice, good cheap knives.

    i use several of the fixed blades as the basis for “bullnose” shop and rigging knives.

    the pocket knives are good enough. the half dozen i’ve used and passed along have all been razor sharp after a good stropping. the steel is softer than buck or case knives, but about on par with the chinese gerbers.

    they are a bargain at their price point.

  8. Ron says:

    I carry a Swiss Army Huntsman with me wherever I go. It had just enough tools but is small enough that it fits easily in my pocket with my zippo(don’t smoke but never know when you will need fire,i.e. candles on birthday cake, someone elses grill).

  9. Marco says:

    CRKT M16 edc, plain edge. It’s got a clip so it’s always were you can reach it and thanks to the carson flipper opening and closing it one handed is one of the simplest and most natural action you can think of. It’s like having a cat’s retractable claw, only made of ATS34 steel.
    It can of course be sharpened, and the edge will last A LOT.
    It’s so handy, sturdy and practical that I can’t see no reason to go cheaper.
    The only exception could be the carbon bladed Opinel, which price is so low, and blade so good, that it’s worth buying anyway, even if for modern standards it’s slow to operate and not so practical.

  10. Robbie_B says:

    Sean, I remember from the podcast that you set up a sharpening station. Do you still take your knives to someone else for sharpening? If so, why?

  11. Jim says:

    I was going to suggest the CRKT M16 as well, especially the M16-03, 3.5in plain edge with 6061 handle. But the blades are either AUS4 or AUS8 depending on model. And once you get used to the carson flipper and the auto-lawk one-hand opening and closing will be like second nature.

  12. craig says:

    just curious-

    first- while rapid blade deployment is a neat feature, is it really what prompts your knife purchase? if so, why not carry a fixed blade?

    second- is point of origin that big a deal? crkt make almost none of their knives stateside. gerber, spyderco, kabar and others sub out their manufacturing offshore.

    third- if you spend too much for a knife is it too good? conversely, if you don’t spend enough, is it crap?

    in the interest of full disclosure…i carry a case stockman, always. a skeletool or wave, usually. in the kitchen i use a $4.95 chinese made sabatier that is the finest utility blade ever. in the shop i use a $2.49 walmart winchester fixed blade. in the woods i carry a grohmann belt knife, absolute perfection. for those intimate social occasions i carry a john greco whisper.

    as i said, just curious.

  13. DW says:

    I don’t worry so much about country of origin for one it is mostly about quality control that the brand maintains from it’s vendor. Spyderco and Benchmade for instance both have a mix of foreign and domestic produced products, as a general rule their knives are very good because of their QC. Cold Steel as far as I know is all foreign and they produce decent knives at a decent price point (they do have some dogs though). Again CS must be doing something right in their QC processes.

    Nothing wrong with a cheap serviceable knife, especially if you are prone to losing things… Besides Some folks aren’t knife snobs like I am, and I am perfectly fine with that within reason. For instance, a buddy of mine had a little knock off Spyderco on his keychain. It was a horrible knockoff at that. I got him a Spyderco Cricket for his Birthday, friends don’t let friends carry awful knives.

  14. Andrew says:

    I went to WallyWorld to check this knife out. I was extremely skeptical, but it really does look like an excellent knife: no blade wiggle, good locking mechanism, and the wood inset and shape of the handle feels good in the hand. I bought three–one for each of my daughters.

    Years ago, when my girls were small (eight or nine years old), Santa gave each of them a small sturdy tool bag for Christmas, and each year, Santa has given them two or three additional hand tools.

    They thought it was silly until my oldest went off to college, and suddenly she was the most popular girl in the dorm, as she had a bag full of good tools. And as an unexpected bonus, the tool bag turned out to be a guy magnet! Any guys visiting the dorm who happened to see my daughter’s tool bag were immediately very impressed, according to all reports. Now that my second daughter has started college, she also is enjoying the same popularity.

    My wife gets really cranky if she does not get all the same tools as her daughters….

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